It is a new day, a new Congress and a new direction for America. The previous Congress could have increased the minimum wage, but it didn't. The Congress before that could, but it did not. Every day over six million Americans choose work at $5.15 an hour over welfare. For 10 years the old Congress chose to do nothing to reward the labor and dedication of those Americans who work hard for the lowest pay. $5.15 an hour - that's less than $900 each month. How much do you pay every month just on your mortgage, your rent, your car payment? Today compared to 1997, we pay 25 percent more for a loaf of bread, 77 percent more for college, 97 percent more for health insurance, and 130 percent more for a gallon of gas, but for those 10 years, the minimum wage has not changed.

Every American worker who works hard full time all year should escape the grasp of poverty. The time for excuses expired 10 years ago. It is time to increase the minimum wage for hard working Americans. This new Congress will deliver for America's workers.